Army general killed in suicide bombing near Sri Lanka capital

June 26, 2006 (AFP) – A suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber assassinated the Sri Lankan army’s deputy chief of staff Monday, dealing another blow to the island’s unravelling peace process. Major General Parami Kulatunga, the army’s number three, was driving on a main highway in a Colombo suburb when police said the bomber rammed his motorcycle into the general’s car.

The blast killed Kulatunga and three others plus the bomber and wounded at least six more people, including the general’s guards who were following in a second vehicle.

Kulatunga is the highest ranking army officer to be killed in Sri Lanka’s three decades of ethnic conflict which have claimed more than 60,000 lives since 1972.

“The bodyguards who brought in General Kulatunga identified his body,” hospital spokeswoman Pushpa Soysa told AFP.

Soysa said the hospital was warned by an anonymous caller to expect extra work about an hour before the attack.

Police said two other soldiers and a civilian bystander, as well as the bomber, were also killed in the blast during the morning rush hour along the congested High Level Road, one of the main highways to the capital Colombo.

It is used extensively by troop